Mercedes claimed a massive victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix with F1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg using exactly the same three-stop tyres strategy to claim its first one-two result since 1955.
The Sepang circuit presents one of the toughest tests of the year for tyres because of its high temperatures and an abrasive surface. However, the new Pirelli tyres demonstrated their reduced graining and increased durability during the race, with no blistering despite track temperatures that peaked at 46C.
The P Zero Orange hard tyres and P Zero White medium tyres were nominated for the race, but with more than a second difference in race pace between the two compounds, a key part of the strategy consisted of the ability to each of the F1 teams to adapt their choice of tyres to the characteristics of their car and the evolving race conditions.
Hamilton and Rosberg, who claimed the first one-two for Mercedes since the 1955 Italian Grand Prix, both used exactly the same three-stop strategy: three stints on the medium tyre followed by a final stint on the hard tyre, of just five and six laps respectively at the end of the race.
Paul Hembery, motorsport director for Pirelli tyres, commented: ”This was a tough race, with track temperature of 46 degrees at the start and the most abrasive surface that we visit all year. In spite of this the tyres showed an overall balance of performance that allowed a close battle for the lead.
“There was no blistering or graining, and while drivers had to manage thermal degradation, a three-stop race is in line with the requirements the sport has asked Pirelli to deliver.”
Denna Bowman, Head Office